Category: Michael Lawrence

Bottom Up DDR: Sierra Leone’s Okada Riders

The most successful DDR and youth employment initiative in Sierra Leone did not come from United Nations or Government programming; it arose from disempowered youth helping themselves by founding the Sierra Leone Bike Riders Union, popularly known as the Okada Riders. The organization began in Makeni during the war when displaced youth banded together to provide a dirt-bike taxi service.

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A Response to ‘Policing in Palestine’

We are pleased that Henrik Malmquist, head of the EUPOL COPPS mission that is the subject of the recent SSR Issue Paper Policing in Palestine: The EU Police Reform Mission in the West Bank by Madeline Kristoff, has agreed to present what he finds are the shortcomings of the analysis. His reactions are pasted below, followed by a response to Mr. Malmquist by the author of the paper.

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The War on Drugs as a Threat to SSR

In some ways Mexico’s full-fledged war against its drug trafficking organizations advances the goals of SSR. Behind the scenes of bloody confrontation, police forces at various levels are undergoing a process of vetting and reform intended to root out corruption and improve capacity and coordination. These promising steps notwithstanding, Mexico’s war on drugs poses immense threats to security governance.

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New Report on Organized Crime and Urban Violence in Latin America

From Mexico to Honduras to Ecuador, Latin American societies are increasingly buffeted by the complex threat of violent criminality – from street gangs to transnational organized crime – and their governments are today mounting highly militarized responses to the challenge. A new Brookings Institution report by Vanda Felbab-Brown, ”Bringing the State to the Slum: Confronting Organized Crime and Urban Violence in Latin America“ explores this challenge, gathering lessons learned for law enforcement and policymakers.

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“A Cautionary Tale: Plan Colombia’s Lessons for U.S. Policy Toward Mexico and Beyond”

As the drug war continues to expand southward, a growing number of countries are following Mexico’s lead by deploying the military in an internal security role to directly confront the drug gangs. A new joint report from the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, the Center for International Policy and the Washington Office on Latin America draws on the experience of Plan Colombia and highlights several ways in which the military strategy threatens security.

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